Friends of Patrick Eagan Park
Recent E-Group Postings
From: Jack G. Conrad [mailto:jackgconrad @ earthlink.net]
Sent: Sunday, August 17, 2003 5:11 PM
Subject: "Eagan Core Greenway Update --- Vraa Resignation, New Threats to Greenway, and More"
Dear Friends of Patrick Eagan Park,
The following is a list of recent updates concerning the Eagan Core Greenway and closely related topics. It also includes details of a new threat to the northern portion of the Greenway.
- Ken Vraa, Director of Eagan's Parks & Recreation Department announced his resignation this past week, at the August 12th Eagan Advisory Parks Commission workshop. He will be leaving his post as Director in the Spring of next year. Ken Vraa has worked for the City of Eagan for 24 years. Ken was once a major proponent of the proposed championship golf course (though we all have our temporary lapses at certain points in our careers). More significantly, the Friends of Patrick Eagan Park group is proud to say that we have come to view Ken as both an ally and a friend in the past year. We are especially grateful to him for the important role he has played over the years in support of the Caponi Art Park, having served faithfully on the Art Park's Board for many years. It is our hope that Ken will remain a trusted friend if not a voice for the Caponi Art Park after he leaves his position as Eagan's Parks & Recreation Director. Friends of Patrick Eagan Park is also appreciative of the support Ken has given his staff members, such as Beth Wielde, and the hugely successful job they have performed on behalf of the Anderson acquisition (the 10 acre parcel beside the entrance to Patrick Eagan Park). We wish Ken and his projects well, and hope that he will continue to consider serving on local organizations such as the Caponi Art Park Board, organizations that will directly or indirectly continue to foster to the vision of the Eagan Core Greenway (http://www.friendsofpatrickeaganpark.org/vision.html).
- Patrick McCarthy's recent Minnesota Court of Appeals victory should permit him not only to apply to Dakota County's Farmland and Natural and Scenic Area project in an unencumbered manner (see http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/news_events/2002referendum.htm) but also to have his application receive the support of Eagan's City Council.
- Patrick McCarthy was recently served with a new notice from the City of Eagan indicating that the City planned to exercise Eminent Domain in order to take several acres of land in the northwest corner of his property. The City is interested in using this land to construct three holding ponds for cleaning up phosphate-polluted water that is being channeled through nearby Hurley Lake, JP47, and Fish Lake (see top of map: http://www.friendsofpatrickeaganpark.org/location.html#item1). The City would also like to build a road on this land in order to have better access to the building site for the ponds. The dozens of community members who live in proximity to the planned project were not informed of the City's interest in this project. Instead, they were informed by Mr. McCarthy's attorney, who received the notice from the City. Last winter, these same citizens challenged the City's desire to turn JP47 into a holding pond for polluted water. The citizens were able to stop the City, because, it was discovered, the State is actually responsible for the water quality of the pond, and Eagan has no right to pollute it. As a result of the action of these citizens, the City must clean up 18 inches of alum sludge from the entire pond's bottom. The fact of the matter is that there currently exist less intrusive, less expensive, and more ecologically friendly means by which to clean up such bodies of water. The City itself has exercised such means in the case of, for example, Cedar Pond near Diffley and Nichols Roads. What is needed now from citizens who wish to stand up for Patrick McCarthy's right to his land and for the vision of the Eagan Core Greenway, and from those who are opposed to heavy-handed---and cost ineffective---means of water clean up, is to have their views be aired at the next City Council meeting this coming Tuesday, August 19th. There is a listening session scheduled before the meeting (~6:00 p.m.). Visitors may also request being heard during the meeting's "Visitors to be Heard" segment later in the evening. What points need to be made? Citizens must ask about the wisdom of proceeding with this project that is so expensive and so environmentally destructive. We know that other areas such as Cedar Pond are cleaning up water using plants, aeration, and green spaces around their ponds or lakes. We have also been advised that the State of Minnesota has a law taking effect in 2004 that will require residents to use phosphate-free fertilizers. Thus, we are hoping that alternative methods will be discussed and be more favorably considered in this instance. The last thing point that needs to be made is that the City should be prudent in its dealings with Mr. McCarthy, since one long-term solution to the McCarthy Farm preservation issue envisions Mr. McCarthy working out a deal with the City that enables him to have all of his taxes and legal fees covered while the City inherits the farm and while a conservation easement witnesses the long term protection of the property for the historical, recreational, and environmental enjoyment of Eagan's residents. Mr. McCarthy would still be able to live out his days on the farm, in the same manner he currently resides there. Note that the farm has been operated by the McCarthy family on this same location for over 150 years! Please come on Tuesday and let your views be heard.
- This message (scheduled to be sent out earlier) was going to offer a rain date of next Sunday for today's Nature Photography Workshop: Sunday (August 17th), from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., in Patrick Eagan Park. It now looks like such a rain date will not be necessary. David and John Brunet will conduct the workshop, which will begin at the Eagan Art House at the entrance to Patrick Eagan Park. See: www.friendsofpatrickeaganpark.org/e-group_postings/Photo_Workshop_5Aug03.html for more details. Bring a camera, sample photos from natural settings----and bug dope!
Friends of Patrick Eagan Park